Addicts rationalize their behavior or engage in substantial denial that a problem even exists. Rationalization, denial, and other defense mechanisms provide a smokescreen to obscure the truth that is in plain view. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
There’s not a simple pill you can take to cure this disease. Instead, the treatment available focuses on helping you manage your condition, so you can achieve sobriety and resist relapse to alcohol abuse. The AA first step, admitting powerlessness and acknowledging the unmanageability your addiction brings, is a crucial leap toward lasting recovery. It’s a moment of profound self-realization and humility, opening the door to hope, healing and transformation. Remember, the 1st step AA is not the end but the beginning of a brighter future.
Step 1 in the Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon Programs
You might be avoiding taking the first step toward recovery due to myths and misunderstandings surrounding AA and its steps. Here are some of the most common myths debunked or explained. According to Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (1981), “Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built” (p. 21).
This is when I realized that as long as my use continued, my life was unmanageable! Again, it is a hard truth to swallow, but for one to continue powerless over alcohol examples on a clear decision must be made or no further progress will happen. It required a no reservations, no holds bar surrender to my disease.
We’re powerless when our mind is obsessing, so it’s nearly impossible to make the right decision. The first step of AA says, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Admitting powerlessness over alcohol is the foundation of your recovery. If you still believe that you have some sort of control over your drinking, you will drink again. Once you relinquish control, you are well on your way to mastering step one. Powerlessness should not be a cause to become discouraged, or be understood as saying we have no control over our actions and can do nothing to get better.
If you are living with a loved one’s drinking, it can be difficult to admit you are powerless and unable to keep cleaning up the mess and being the responsible one. You may continue to make things work and, therefore, be part of the sickness. Only after admitting you are powerless can you begin to make changes in yourself. From step one, you can continue to the rest of the 12 steps and 12 traditions. A crucial part of completing AA Step one revolves around admitting powerlessness.
Addiction and Mental Health Resources
One of the biggest plot twists regarding lacking power is that it starts as a tactic to gain power. Most individuals who end up in situations where they’re under the influence of substances are individuals with problems looking to overcome them in a meaningful way. Whether it’s consuming alcohol, taking an illicit drug, or some other substance, most situations start as a means of feeling good, in control, and enjoying life for what it is. Admitting powerlessness is essentially waving the white flag and recognizing that you cannot try to drink anymore.
- We cannot start to change what is happening unless we can admit to what is going on.
- Many who struggle with alcoholism have tried to control or moderate their drinking, only to find themselves repeatedly falling into the same destructive patterns.
- Many people drink to excess or use drugs irresponsibly, but then are able to stop or change their behavior after a few warning signals.
- If you’re ready to get help with alcohol addiction, visit the AA website to find a support group near you.
- How many times have we had these kinds of thoughts and believed them?
- In fact, it is only after admitting powerlessness over an addiction that we are able to take the steps necessary to get our lives back.
Eventually, this pseudo-control turns into a lengthy desire for a substance. One of the more common feelings is the inability to manage timelines and behaviors and keep track of daily routines and tasks. Have you ever anticipated an event so much that you just waited around in bed all day until it came? Individuals who depend on a substance cannot focus on other tasks and are consumed with their next meeting time with the particular substance. But the terminal stages of addiction will strip everything away, and an addicted person who refuses to recover will often be left with nothing. At The Kimberly Center, we know that acknowledging powerlessness isn’t easy, but we want to help simplify the recovery process.
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable. AA is a recovery program for multiracial men and women who are suffering from an alcohol use disorder. Through companionship, mutual respect, and shared experiences, AA members come together to maintain abstinence from alcohol and build sober lives. If you’re passionate about putting a halt to your alcohol consumption, AA membership is available to you. AA support groups are accessible and free, without any age or education requirements.